What are spaying and neutering?
Neutering your male cat is a simple surgical procedure that involves the removal of the testicles. As with any surgical procedure, there is some risk, but the health benefits of neutering your cat far outweigh the risks. In addition, this routine procedure helps control pet overpopulation and avoids the need to euthanize unwanted kittens and cats.
What is the recovery period?
To reduce pain and discomfort, spaying and neutering are performed under general anesthesia and can only be done by a licensed veterinarian. Most cats can return to normal activity within a few days, and the stitches are removed after about two weeks. After the procedure, your veterinarian will advise you on the best way to care for your cat while it recovers.
What are the benefits of neutering my cat?
With the removal of the testicles, the cat’s body can no longer produce the hormones that are responsible for certain unwanted behaviors.
1. One of the main reasons to spay or neuter your cat is to reduce spraying. Male cats mark their territory – outside and inside the house – by spraying urine. Because surgical removal of the gonads (testes) also removes the source of the male hormone, neutered cats are less territorial and therefore less likely to need to urinate.
2. Neutering your cat also removes the source of sperm production, which reduces your cat’s sexual behavior. Unspayed cats often travel long distances in search of a female cat, increasing the risk that your cat will be injured by another animal, hit by a car, or simply lost. These problems are greatly reduced by neutering your cat.
3. To maintain territorial dominance, male cats can be quite aggressive, often fighting with other male cats to preserve their territory and dominate female cats in the neighborhood. These fights can sometimes injure your cat or transmit parasites (like ringworm) or diseases (like feline leukemia). Because neutered cats tend to be less aggressive, your neutered pet will be less prone to injury and disease, and you will be better protected from the resulting veterinary costs of treating your pet. However, the neutering procedure does not affect your cat’s hunting skills or playfulness. Male cats tend to become more gentle and affectionate after neutering.
4. Neutering your cat offers the prospect of a healthier future by eliminating the possibility of testicular tumors and cancers.
5. Spaying or neutering your cat helps prevent unwanted births. Every year, millions of unwanted kittens are born and only a few lucky ones are adopted. The rest are euthanized in a shelter, or succumb to trauma, starvation, or disease on the street. Those who live in the wild in an alley or barn are very susceptible to disease and the contamination of other animals with disease. Neutering your cat will help prevent these unwanted births and the spread of disease.
When should my cat be sterilized?
Studies show that cats can be safely spayed or neutered as early as eight weeks of age. If possible, the procedure should be performed at least by six months of age, as this reduces the risk of physical and behavioral problems.
Spayed or neutered cats tend to gain weight because they are no longer driven to roam as they once were. However, your cat’s weight can be effectively managed with a proper diet.
The only downside to neutering your cat is that it will no longer be able to reproduce. This is usually only a problem if you are breeding cats. Otherwise, to help prevent pet overpopulation and allow your cat to live a longer, healthier life, the best gift you can give your cat is to have her spayed or neutered.